The ultimate 2017 movie celebration, Walloh style.
And so we come to the end of our very first year doing this whole ‘movie’ thing, and what a year for it. By this point, we’ve tweeted, Instagrammed, Facebooked and even blogged about so many incredible films, narrowing it down to just the pretty few you see before you was something of a challenge. But with the help of the Walloh faithful, and our own in-house team, we’ve somehow managed to do just that.
So without much further ado – and in the no particular order (ranking just feels mean), here’s our 2017 highlights:
Possibly the most obvious on this list, Get Out’s already managed to grab the ‘best movie’ gong from literally dozens of magazines, websites and critics circles all over the world, despite first dropping way back in March. And there’s good reason. Jordan Peele’s serious genre-bender of a thriller was just about gathering speed when we first got into the movie game back in April, and it’s done nothing but soar like a majestic, politically-and-socially-relevant eagle ever since. Full of knock-out performances and some of the weirdest and simultaneously most-genius twists of the year, there’s a reason we keep shouting about it.
Pretty much the rom-com to beat as far as 2017’s concerned, we first got acquainted with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s real-life drama at this year’s Sundance London in the summer, and were very much ready to call it one of our faves right then and there. Hell, it ended up forming the basis of one of our first blogs. It’s beautifully written and about as naturally sweet as they come, even managing to win over our notoriously tricky founder and CEO Juanjo too, who called it “unpretentious, honest and very, very funny”. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Golden Globes.
This writer’s personal fave, Baby Driver was a real long time coming. A ridiculous four years on from The World’s End, the world needed – nay, deserved – a new Edgar Wright joint, and what we got was more than worth the wait. Easing on the humour to focus on a straight-up, cool-as-hell car chase movie, set to an insane retro soundtrack (like Walter Hill’s The Driver crossed with a Beastie Boys music video), it’s proof that Wright’s well and truly evolved into one of the movie world’s real genre greats. Let’s just pray it doesn’t take another near-half-decade for him to fire out the next one.
We’ve already gushed and gushed about Sean Baker’s uncategorizable neo-kitchen-sink-dream-drama thing (and we’ll leave most of the ‘xplainin’ to said blog post) but just in case it wasn’t already clear – The Florida Project is one million percent a masterpiece. Totally new and fresh and honest – and a tiny bit dangerous – it’s the sort of beautifully bare filmmaking that somehow sees into our very souls as audience members, and gave us one of our favourite cinema experiences of 2017.
A total unexpected giant of 2017’s drama slate, Lady Macbeth is about as low-rent and British as they come, but had absolutely no problem totally tearing up the festival circuit and sweeping the BIFAs and European Film Awards. Making a star of its lead Florence Pugh (who’s already rubbing shoulders with Dwayne Johnson and co. higher up the food chain), it’s a super twisty, semi-Hitchcockian mix of sex and murder and 19th century period clothing that just about blew everybody’s socks off on both sides of the Atlantic (including ours), and for good reason.
This year’s real hardcore horror triumph though belonged to France’s Julia Ducournau, who not only pushed the limit with her Euro-cannibal/coming-of-age drama Raw, but also took a bloody great chunk out of it too. Having already prompted walkouts and faintings on its festival tour last year, we certainly weren’t expecting to find this one as weirdly deep and moving as it actually is. Our go-to writer/London culture mastermind Sam Spencer lists this one as one of his own personal highlights too, calling it “shocking, stunning, and unsettling, with bonus points for featuring The Long Blondes’ ‘Giddy Stratospheres’ on the soundtrack”, so you know it’s worth a hearty shoutout.
Another Brit-backed fave, God’s Own Country ended up winning big all over the world, from Sundance to Berlin, and we’re totally in love with just how difficult, but ultimately sweet and hopeful it is. From some seriously gorgeous Yorkshire hills, to Josh O’Connor’s troubled standout lead, Francis Lee’s debut is about as rough and fiery as a good ol’ roll in the hay, searingly honest in all its musings on sexuality and love. Not to mention the knitwear. If only there was an Oscar for Best Jumper…
2017 also brought with it the 61st BFI London Film Festival, so naturally we tried to squeeze ourselves into as many screenings as possible. And believe it or not, out of everything we managed to force into our eye-holes over those insane two weeks in October, this R-Pattz-starring crime dramedy from the fast-rising Safdie Brothers, was the best. At times even rawer than Raw itself, it’s a totally unique Taxi Driver-esque re-telling of New York’s seedy underbelly, told with honesty and humour, and stands as arguably Pattinson’s finest role to date.
As far as sci-fi goes, it was either this or Star Wars, and while we here at Walloh have a lot of love for The Last Jedi, Denis Villeneuve’s ultra-swish, philosophically minded neo-noir just about edged it. It’s about as difficult and meaningful as huge-scale blockbuster entertainment gets, building on the foundations of Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner before totally running away with something tremendously unique. Again in the words of the fab Sam Spencer: “There are no tears in rain, but there is Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford fighting in a holographic cabaret act, visuals to make even a replicant gape with awe, and Hans Zimmer at his most ‘WWWWHHHHHHHNNNNNNNGGGGGGG”. There’s a reason everyone’s still talking about it.
And so we arrive at what was very easily one of 2017’s most eagerly anticipated new releases, and what very happily turned into one its very best too. Chris Nolan rarely lets us down, and when he let it be known that he was turning away from his usual Hollywood bag of tricks, stripping back the 3 hour runtimes and huge amounts of visual effects to tackle a good old fashioned British war movie instead, it’s safe to say a fair amount of ears pricked up at the thought. The result – a blindingly tense and stripped back war experience – is a proper big picture deal, a serious old-school achievement in filmmaking that puts you right there in the heart of the action; total, authentic transportation, what cinema’s all about. It’s not only Nolan’s most serious movie to date, but most of our team’s favourite too, championed by all our lead staff, including our tech master Liam who called it “profoundly moving” – definitely not one any of us are going to forget anytime soon.
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